In case you missed this blog serial thus far, we kicked off a new series called “So What. Now What?”. This week is the third installment in our newest series. We will focus on Ways to Pivot, and the ‘So What. Now What’ mentality. ‘So what now what’ is a process and phrase introduced by Linda Cliatt-Wayman that Dr. Elko stated repeatedly as he worked with the University of Alabama’s football team that led to the teams’ latest BCS Championship Season. This phrase means So this or that happened now what are you going to do and respond?''. The ‘so what now what’ mentality and culture can be used practically in any field and by any person to help you to focus on what is important now. It helps people learn how to ‘win’. If you repeatedly focus on ‘so what now what’ and repeat this over and over, you will begin to make actionable steps toward what matters.
This week’s blog will feature some tips on how other districts have successfully pivoted during COVID-19 aligned with the “So What. Now What” mentality! The word “pivot” was first introduced by Eric Ries in an article entitled “Lessons Learned”. It was used to describe how small start-up businesses changed directions during a time crunch, but also successfully stayed grounded in their mission! The following methods are ways that educators have adjusted their teaching strategies to align with this year's events and have been successful in staying grounded in the mission of ensuring students have an effective education. Here are 6 ways that schools and educators have successfully pivoted to remote learning!
- Accept that we are learners: In examining the ways that districts have been successful, one thing that was very consistent is the understanding that every experience is a learning experience. We are chartering new ground and nothing is more important to the success of the student learning than our own! This understanding has the possibility to remedy gaps that often present themselves in this HUGE pivot for all educators such as;
- Developing meaningful relationships with our students
- And the learning curve presented with continuously learning new technologies, behavior, and strategies that work.
- Plan your growth!: Not only will you have significant gains from dedicating time to learn more about the different methods, but demonstrating to your students how individuals build expertise can go a long way to teach them how to adapt to a large change. Identify one or two concepts that are worth looking into to expand your expertise! After all, this is the actionable thing that districts have to do to make this blog possible.
- Personalize the Learning: Use technology to make the learning personal! With the help of technology and other teacher resources, there are many ways to allow the student the opportunity to be the master of their own learning. Teachers have found Zoom’s ability to create breakout rooms useful to differentiate the needs of the student and gain a more in-depth analysis of the student’s weaknesses and strengths.
- Make it Flexible: More than ever I’m sure we understand the value of flexibility! We need to be more flexible in the sense that we are ready and prepared to make the switch to virtual learning! These are unpredictable times, it would be wise to learn from this experience and gather the needed resources to have virtual alternatives to our lesson plans even if our districts are fully in-person. Having lesson plans that are flexible and still meet the needs of the classroom learning is necessary to ensure an easy pivot!
- Eliminate the programs that do not work: No district has the time or resources to continue a technology that does not work. Investing the time in using educational technology tools that have a good Return on Investment (ROI) is essential at a time like this. This removes the hassle of attempting to remedy the gaps that are caused by such programs and makes a platform for new learning, and often, a solid process for online learning that is actually effective.
- Rethink traditional testing: Think about switching to testing that captures every click of the mouse or tap of the iPad such as Embedded assessment. This form of testing helps to analyze and aggregate the performance level of the student, and can also identify skills gaps, and allows teachers to intervene and help as needed. The ability to assess, identify skills gaps, and then close those gaps for these students is crucial for preventing “COVID slide,” which may have compounded the annual “summer slide,” and to make sure these issues don’t have a cumulative effect that will impact students for years to come.
One positive outlook on our current predicament is that we are in a time of abundant learning, growth, self-reflection, and evaluation in the way that we work and operate. Embodying the essence of “So what. No what?” emphasizes that we have to embrace change and relish learning experiences. As you plan to move forward, it is most important that we learn from each other's mistakes and strengths especially at such unprecedented times! No one knows what tomorrow holds, but even tomorrow can't take away the valuable skills that we know.
Let us know if you are already implementing some of these strategies, and if you have more suggestions that would be useful for educators still struggling with ways to adjust! If you found this information interesting or useful, let us know by submitting your feedback! We would love to hear what you have to say about the topics that we share and what you would like to hear more about. As we grow, be sure to like and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that we can expand our reach and move closer to our mission of equipping educators everywhere